By Etuka Sunday
Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu yesterday denied ever writing Memo to President Muhammadu Buhari over the importunate fuel crisis in the country.
The Director Press, Ministry of Petroleum Resources (MPR), Idang Alibi in a statement said, the clarification was necessary to put an end to the ongoing social media war on the issue.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to a message making the rounds on social media of a purported memo by the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu to the President on the fuel crises. The message is false.
“This is not a time for diversionary issues as the Petroleum Sector is dealing with a serious National issue. We are focused on collaboratively finding an urgent solution to these crises.
“The Minister of State continues to monitor the current fuel situation and to work with NNPC and DPR to continue to execute already communicated ministerial directives to maximally flood the market with products and prevent and penalize any sabotage attempts at diversion by any culprit.
“The Minister of State appreciates the pain Nigerians are going through but urges calm and understanding as NNPC is doing everything possible to immediately end this fuel crises situation,” the statement said.
Recall, the corporation said, its combined team of officials and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), led by the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, on Tuesday heightened the tempo of unscheduled visits to fuel stations across the Federal Capital Territory suspected to be involved in underhand dealings.
It said, the raid which was facilitated by the operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) led to the clampdown of a notorious fuel outlet in the Kubwa District of the FCT caught selling petrol at the rate of N250 per litre, a price well above the approved retail price of N145/litre.
It also said, the NNPC GMD promptly ordered an on-the-spot dispensing of the remaining product in the storage tank free to motorists in conformity with extant sanction for such misdemeanour .
Dr. Baru was quoted to have noted that in line with its mandate as supplier of last resort, the NNPC would continue to work with relevant stakeholders like the DPR and Civil Defence Corps to bring to a quick end the prevailing hardship in accessing petrol across the country.
The GMD enthused that with the recent directive by the Presidency for the security agencies to tighten the noose on smuggling of petroleum products, the issues of cross-border activities and diversion of products would be curtailed, thus allowing Nigerians to benefit from the massive injection of fuel into the system being undertaken by the corporation within the last few weeks.
Despite these efforts by NNPC and its subsidiaries, motorists continue to experience the hardship in getting the product across the country.